How to stop procrastinating
Hands up if you’ve ever procrastinated? With 24 hour wifi and access to a tremendous amount of distracting content, is it any wonder so many of us have become master procrastinators?
The problem is, when it comes to getting shit done, procrastination is our enemy. It’s delaying or postponing meaningful action, and when that action is what will improve our well being or grow our business, we need to quit it!
But how to do stop procrastinating? Here’s a few tips for you…
Firstly, remember that you’re cyclical
None of us are robots. We all have periods of heightened productivity and lowered productivity, that’s normal. Before you label lowered productivity as procrastination, check in with yourself and see if it’s actually just a part of your natural cycle.
I’m a big believer in being able to go with the flow, so if one task just feels like pushing shit up a hill, then doing something else productive makes sense as you’ll waste so much time forcing yourself with something that just isn’t working. However if you constantly avoid it, then that is procrastination and you need to dig a bit to figure out why that’s happening.
Learn what your top procrastination activities are
Reflect on how you most tend to spend your time when you’re not working on the things you should be working on. Maybe it’s pointless scrolling the internet, doing the laundry, pinning pretty images to Pinterest. Whatever it might be, once you know what those things are see yourself doing them as a red flag to ask yourself if you’re procrastinating.
A lot of us don’t realise that what we are doing is in fact procrastination, especially when it’s still a productive and valuable thing to work on. I used to procrastinate by designing myself new branding or tweaking my website. Yes, it’s useful work, but when I really ought to have been marketing myself then it’s definitely a form of procrastination!
Figure out if it’s dislike, hard or a limiting belief
Starting to understand why you’re procrastinating is key in reducing it. In my experience it comes down to one (or sometimes all!) of three things.
- You simply dislike a certain activity. Perhaps it just doesn’t light you up, you find it boring etc
- You find an activity hard. Maybe you haven’t mastered it or you find it takes ages because you’re still learning
- You have a limiting belief around an activity and procrastination is a way that your brain is playing out that limiting belief. For example, if you have a limiting belief that you’ll never be successful, your brain might make you procrastinate instead of sending out that press release or getting to grips with Instagram.
With dislike, it’s for you to decide how to handle that activity from now on. Do you outsource it? If it’s something like exercise you could try a different form until you find something you like. If you just need to suck it up and do it, can you factor in a reward afterwards? Like a 30 minute coffee break?
If it’s hard, this might be about recognising you need more education or support around a topic. Or maybe you just need to find an easier way to get the same result. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also think of the ‘eat the frog’ technique – do the things that you dislike or find hard first thing in the day so you get them over and done with!
If it’s a limiting belief, sometimes just recognising that is enough to help. I teach in depth mindset work in my Mindset Makeover Course if that’s something you could do with support with!
Figure out what your driver is
If procrastinating is a real problem for you, try deciding on one key ‘driver’ a week. A driver is something that will drive you forward, but you have to make a commitment to getting it done. If you can do it first thing in the week or day that will help make it easier and use less will power. A driver in business might be writing and posting a blog post, in wellbeing it might be doing a healthy grocery shop (I try and do my grocery shop on a Monday morning for this reason!)
Another element of this is connecting to your big ‘why’. Why is doing these things so important to you? Often having a clear why is enough to drive you forward and stop procrastinating. Also remind yourself of the results – what result will you get by pushing through and getting that shit done?
One last thing, sometimes your top procrastination activities are pretty unproductive, but sometimes they are those things that are enjoyable and are productive. These might just be your zone of genius tasks! So if one of your top procrastination activities is kind of productive (just not the thing you ‘should’ be doing) ask yourself if it might be your zone of genius in disguise. That’s why I started designing brands and websites!
I hope those tips have given you something to think about! Do you procrastinate? What are your top procrastination activities?
Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living.
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